Devil May Cry V – Special Edition Review

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8.5 It slaps

Who would have thought that taking an excellent game like Devil May Cry V and adding some beautiful graphical tweaks, a badass new playable character and two excellent new game modes would make the whole experience even better. If you can get past some irritating voice-acting and a handful of forced story beats, there's never been a better way to step into the shoes of an almighty demon slayer and get to work on your enemies. 

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You might not know this but Devil May Cry V kicks so much ass. It’s a game that’s as obsessed with making its characters look as cool as the player feels. There’s a certain level of wanton excess that goes hand-in-hand with the series; a fascination with over-the-top action pair with some quality melodrama. On paper, it shouldn’t work at all. Yet Devil May Cry leans into both facets, exuding an attitude of, “I know, so what?”. The fifth game in franchise goes even harder down the avenue, course-correcting from a rather tonally disparate reboot. The final result, as you probably already know, is one whirlwind of a game that’s stupidly satisfying and satisfyingly stupid.

Yet this ground has already been tread. What we really want to establish is whether or not the Special Edition of the game is worth it. It’s become a staple part of the Devil May Cry franchise that every new game is paired with an updated edition a year or so later. These Special Editions always add a new playable character or two, some updated graphics settings and tweaks to the gameplay that make for a more rounded experience in general. Devil May Cry V – Special Edition is exactly that as it adds in some cool new modes that ramp up the action. Oh, and Vergil is playable once again which is always a plus.

Devil May Cry

On the Vergil of glory

The bulk of the Special Edition is still that glorious game that we played last year. The main campaign focuses on our three protagonists: Nero, Dante and mysterious newcomer V as they attempt to stop Urizen, an all-powerful demon king from spreading death and destruction across the world. Leaping into the campaign, the only thing that’s noticeably different is how much better everything looks. The biggest and best addition is raytracing support which, while maybe not as prevalent as in other next-gen games, still takes what was already a gorgeous game and makes it look even better.

The environmental lighting looks better than ever before and it’s reflected (almost literally) by the quality of the character models. Capcom’s RE Engine is arguably one of the best in the business and it continues to shine in the next generation of consoles.

Beyond the graphical improvements, the aspect of Special Edition I most enjoyed was the inclusion of Vergil. Dante’s twin brother and one of the franchises’ most beloved characters, Special Edition allows you to play the campaign through entirely as Vergil. It’s a nice new chunk of content as his fighting style is vastly different from all the other characters. Wielding his all-powerful blade Yamato, Vergil is maybe the most fun character, mainly due to his arrogance which has been so beautifully translated into mechanics. Excelling in both one on-on-one encounters and crowd-control situations, his reliance on powerful combos and devastating final blows means you’re expected to worry less about positioning and more about target management; at most you’re expected to dodge to the side and firmly plant yourself before unleashing a volley of slices. Much less frenetic but so much more satisfying.

Devil May Crying out loud

Yet while the campaign of Devil May Cry V is still great fun, the new game modes take that groundwork and just add so much more to it. Firstly, Turbo Mode takes a game that’s already fast and speeds it up by a further 20%. It sounds like it’s a nightmare and frankly, it initially is. There was so much going on during combat, so many parts moving at what felt like an unnatural speed that I’ll admit to feeling a little queasy. Yet once you settle into it… yeah, everything looks cooler when you’re smashing hundreds of demons at a god-like speed.

Then there’s the Legendary Dark Knight Mode which… well, I’m sure it’s excellent for those that like the kind of challenge it’s presenting. The elevator pitch for this mode is taking the game’s hardest mode and making it even more challenging by lobbing in dozens of more foes to kill in every encounter. Capcom says that a mode like this could only be achieved through the power of next-gen consoles, which I think is more a marketing line than actual fact. What I do know is that it takes the game to a different level of insanity, one that I would have probably enjoyed much more if I was any good at the game.

Which is fine! Legendary Dark Knight Mode is made for those players that want to smash out a SSS rank on every level! For me, I was just happy to slay all those demons and enjoy a cool campaign with one really contrived conflict point and a fairly disappointing ending. Still, it’s a great addition that fans on Devil May Cry‘s combat system will no doubt adore.

Vergil-dict

Who would have thought that taking an excellent game like Devil May Cry V and adding some beautiful graphical tweaks, a badass new playable character and two excellent new game modes would make the whole experience even better? If you can get past some irritating voice-acting and a handful of forced story beats, there’s never been a better way to step into the shoes of an almighty demon slayer and get to work on your enemies.

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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